Following the tragic suicides of a Russian family in Glasgow on Sunday, Archbishop Mario Conti has called for better treatment for those seeking asylum.
In a statement of support for a march to be held in Glasgow on Saturday, 13th March 2010, the Archbishop said: “I have been appalled time and time again at the way refugees, after several years residence here, are suddenly deported. During those years they have often forged relationships within the community, and people are ready to stand by them and support them and are deeply distressed when they suddenly disappear.
“The tragic case of the Russian family who jumped to their deaths from the Red Road Flats last weekend is a unique case but serves as a terrible reminder of the anguish faced, on a daily basis, by asylum seekers in the city.
“We must constantly examine our conscience as a society and ask whether we are fully respecting the dignity of the human beings who find their way to our shores.
“It is right that there be robust and clear rules in place to prevent abuses, but at the same time compassion must have a role, especially where children are concerned who have grown up here and have no memory of a land to which they face deportation.
“Our Catholic schools are not alone in doing fantastic work with the children of asylum seekers and it is heartbreaking to see those young people’s education and aspirations cut short by a notice to leave the country.
“It is to the Government’s credit that the brutal practice of early morning raids seems to have all-but gone. However, questions still need to be asked about the practice of stopping families’ already-meagre benefits and threatening them with eviction. It is far from humane that such families have to live in constant fear of deportation; a more efficient and compassionate method for dealing with migrants and refugees is urgently needed.”
It is believed the family had been told that their application for asylum had been rejected and they had received a letter telling them to leave the flat on Sunday. The charity Positive Action in Housing is calling for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths.